The "Hear Me Roar: Women Photographers" gallery presents women artists as part of the Soaring Together Lehigh campaign. A new scholarship starting with the class of 2027 adds to the programs brought forth by this initiative.

Soaring together through a new scholarship


In celebration of 50 years of coeducation, Lehigh created the Soaring Together Scholarship Fund to support women’s education at Lehigh for years to come with full rides, mentorship and learning opportunities.

Deidre Kwiatek, senior director and development and campaign director in the Office of Development and Alumni Relations, said the fund aims to not only celebrate 50 years of women at Lehigh, but also grant scholars the opportunity to network and be mentored by donors to the program.

“The Soaring Together Scholarship Program distinguishes itself from individual scholarships,” Kwiatek said, “because it functions as a scholars program that donors can contribute to in order to create a cohort of students who will not only have a full tuition scholarship, but will have access to the entire breadth of a Lehigh experience as part of the scholarship.”

Morgan Nelson, senior director of Alumni Relations, said the program seeks to identify young scholars who are passionate about advancing gender equity. 

Nelson’s position, which began in August, was formed as a result of the program. She has been delegated the role of engaging the alumni community. 

“With all the enthusiasm and momentum that we were seeing for the Soaring Together movement, it was determined that in order to continue doing this good work, we needed to have someone in a dedicated position,” Nelson said.

Although the initiative is still in its early stages, Kwiatek said they looked into what makes the Lehigh experience so special.

She said they considered education, co-curricular and experiential learning, and Lehigh’s alumni network when creating the program.

Dan Warner, vice provost for admissions and financial aid, said he is excited to see how the program evolves. He said, in many ways, the program will be determined by the students who are chosen and the mentors with whom they will work.

“One of things that is really exciting about this is that the dye has not been cast yet and this can really go in a lot of directions,” Warner said. “It is really exciting that students will be a part of blazing the trail for students that come after them.” 

Nelson said donors of the fund have expressed interest in supporting students both financially and through mentorship and networking, which is an area still under development.

Warner said the willingness and eagerness of alumni serve as a testament to Lehigh’s network. 

“It’s not just about identifying smart students and supporting them financially — this is bigger than that,” Warner said. “It’s the Lehigh community nurturing these folks in a way that is most meaningful to them and helping them along their journey.” 

Sarah Bombard, senior associate director of Lehigh admissions, said the program received over 1,300 applications for the class of 2027.

Within the application for the Soaring Scholarship Program, students had the opportunity to express themselves in a non-traditional way. 

Warner said, in an effort to encourage students to apply to the program, they allowed for a video submission option for applicants to have some creative leeway.

“Whether that is a video that demonstrates their work toward gender equity or somehow displays their commitment to it, or whether it’s a portfolio of photographs they have taken,” Warner said, “we wanted students to be able to show us rather than tell us about that commitment.”

The goal of the program, Nelson said, is to provide recipients with support while advancing gender equity on campus and beyond — something they hope to continue through ongoing conversations with the Lehigh community.

“It’s really making an impact that’s creating change,” Nelson said. “To hear that our students that are committed to advancing gender equity will receive a full scholarship at Lehigh is huge.”

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